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Industry Regulations

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How to Make Legal Pot Work in Michigan
Michigan’s policy leaders must lay the groundwork for a safe and legal market in which consumers can gain access to marijuana products that have been tested to ensure they contain no dangerous chemicals or impurities. Implementing a state-run regulatory structure and market for marijuana is a difficult and arduous task. There are dozens of important facets to consider, including what substances to test for, whether to allow for deliveries, how the program will overlap with the state’s still-developing medical marijuana program, collaborating with local governments, and more. The state now has one year to adopt regulations that will help it carry out the new law. A year might sound like a long time, but marijuana regulations in other states often stretch hundreds of pages and Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will likely need to host dozens of meetings to collect public feedback before proceeding. The initiative provides only cursory guidance on some key policy issues. Many elements of these regulations are highly technical and can range from the software integration requirements for businesses seeking licensees with the state to the specific forms of mold or bacteria for which marijuana must be tested.
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Nevada's Banking Bill is Not a Viable Solution
Over the past few years, I’ve been an entrepreneur in the legal marijuana industry in Nevada and elsewhere. I can tell you firsthand how incredibly frustrating it can be to operate in an industry for which banking services are generally unavailable. Actions that most entrepreneurs take for granted, like making deposits, transferring payments, remitting employee payroll tax withholdings or sending earnings distributions to out-of-state investors, become incredibly difficult and dangerous when it all must be done by physically moving cash. Unfortunately, however, the proposal would mostly fail to solve the legitimate needs of the industry and would not improve the physical safety at marijuana dispensaries. The reasons for this are not shortcomings of the legislation itself, per se, but limitations inherent to a banking system that is predominantly regulated at the federal level. Understanding this history is important because any attempt at a marijuana bank in Nevada would likely run into similar complications. SB 437 essentially abandons hope of a marijuana bank receiving a Federal Reserve master account and only authorizes the bank to issue limited checks that would not go through the Fed clearinghouse. Those checks would only be payable to state and local governments for taxes and to certain in-state vendors who could only cash them at the marijuana bank. This means the marijuana bank would mostly be a glorified vault for marijuana businesses. This isn’t the type of fix that will improve the safety of marijuana businesses or their customers. The bill also requires the proposed bank or credit union to acquire deposit insurance. It’s unlikely that would happen unless the institution plans to serve a much broader population.
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